Category: Penn State Spirit

Vision for Penn State Greeks

By Tom Shakely, March 31, 2017 I remember touring Beta Theta Pi a few years ago. It was over Arts Fest in 2013, and I had been invited along with some other members of The Nittany Valley Society to see inside the new crown jewel of Penn State’s fraternity system. An alum had contributed a ...

In Search of Evan Pugh

By Chris Buchignani, February 2017 Three Penn State presidents have been laid to rest here in Centre County. President Atherton is famously interred right along Pollock Road adjacent to Schwab Auditorium, while Milton Eisenhower finds his final repose in Centre County Memorial Park along the Benner Pike. Evan Pugh, Penn State’s founding president and one ...

Penn State Football Remixes Its Past

By Chris Buchignani, January 2017 Suffering through a prolonged period of frustration and despair, the Penn State football team faces a do-or-die moment in an early Big Ten contest: Trailing in the fourth quarter and needing an unlikely game-extending play to keep hope alive, the Lions thread the needle, capping off a precarious come-from-behind win ...

Yule ales add to Advent Spirit (Nittany Valley Press Excerpt)

Today, it is not unusual to enter a bar and find a laundry list of exotic beers on tap or to hear news of a local brew pub or microbrewery opening up. Such was not the case in 1984 (only five years after the legalization of homebrewing) when the editor of the Centre Daily Times ...

Salute to veterans

By Chris Buchignani, November 2016 The great stories of any age are often best understood by tracing the tiny threads of personal experience. In following these winding strands, seeing where and how they intersect, we come to understand how the collective weight of countless individual acts underpins the forces that shape our world. On the ...

The Penn State-Wisconsin Rivalry That Never Was

By Chris Buchignani, October 2016 Recently, I found myself caught in Park Ave traffic behind a car adorned with an obnoxiously large Ohio State Buckeyes magnet. With merely a glimpse of it, my pulse quickened and my palms tightly gripped the steering wheel. As an ardent Nittany Lions fan, I recoiled at the unwelcome reminder ...

Why Learn the Penn State Story?

By Chris Buchignani, August 2016 To wrap up this series of articles on local efforts to bring history to life, I would like to focus on a project that is a source of great excitement and pride – The Nittany Valley Society’s support for an undergraduate course on Penn State history. In early 2013, two ...

The First History of Penn State

By Chris Buchignani, April 2016 Over its 161 years, Penn State has twice sanctioned books chronicling the University’s history, once in the 1940’s and again with an updated version in the 1980’s. While history professor and Penn State historian Wayland Dunaway’s 1946 “History of The Pennsylvania State College” was the first official account of Old ...

Our Founders Were Real

By Tom Shakely Evan Pugh was Penn State’s first president. It’s great if you happen to know of Evan Pugh. In fact, it’s likely that knowing about him already puts you in the minority among students and alumni. But just knowing this bit of raw information isn’t worth much in and of itself. It’s available ...

The Origins of ‘Happy Valley’

Most of have heard at least one theory on the origins of our “Happy Valley” nickname. Did it arise during the Great Depression, an expression of area’s economic resiliency? Or perhaps it was the tongue-in-cheek lament of would-be 1960s activists, frustrated by a stubbornly docile pace of life. The Nittany Valley Society is pleased to ...